Over thirty years passed since I moved away yet my childhood bedroom endured, lovingly preserved to welcome me home at any time. My Mom cared for it like the curator of a rare museum.
My old room was a bright and cheerful place with light speckled linoleum, wallpaper dancing with huge blue and green flowers, white woodwork, and a large east window overlooking green fields, welcoming in sunshine and birdsong. Entering from the hallway, the room burst like a garden. The wallpaper was yellowed, not by the passing of time, but by layers of sunny laughter absorbed over the years. A globe of cream coloured glass patterned with leaves lit the room, adorned with a green ribbon hung low enough for a small child to pull the light on and off with a satisfying click.
Black Beauty and Anne of Green Gables nestled amongst the bookcase shelves like friends waiting to play. A poster of horses splashing through turquoise water with a huge cobalt sky behind them graced the wall. Beside it, my pencil sketch of circus horses rearing for their trainer with an honourable mention from the local fair. Blocking the spooky attic door in the corner, a big plywood trunk held linen instead of dress up clothes. My collection of keepsakes covered the top of the dresser – a wooden jewellery box in the shape of a grand piano, a stained glass creation announcing “friends are forever”, and a herd of china horses posing elegantly.
Over time my room transformed. Mom spent time there, glancing into photo albums, sorting through artifacts, dusting each delicate keepsake, running fingers over bookshelves of shared stories. At first she hung a few clothes in the closet, then her exercise bike appeared, then an arm chair by the window for crocheting and reading. Even at eighty-nine, the strength of her love kept her climbing those stairs to putter and care for our gallery, to keep the welcome mat out in case of a visit.
The museum exists only in my thoughts and photos now. I was so lucky to be one of your girls, Mom.